| WASHINGTON, June 23
WASHINGTON, June 23 Environmentalists on Monday
protested at the headquarters of the U.S. Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission, calling on the agency to stop approving
liquefied natural gas export facilities until the climate change
impacts of the projects are better understood.
The protesters blasted FERC's refusal to consider the
greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the production,
processing and shipment of natural gas abroad and said FERC must
examine the matter before considering any new projects.
About two dozen picketers chanted and carried signs with
slogans such as "FERC: we need the truth on climate," kicking
off a week of daily demonstrations planned at the agency's
"They are oil and gas industry facilitators, not oil and gas
industry regulators," said Mike Tidwell, director of the
Chesapeake Climate Action Network, which organized the protest.
The action comes as typically low-profile FERC moves to
center stage in the struggle over the future of the U.S. shale
Last week, Sempra's Cameron LNG facility was the second gas
export project to receive approval from FERC to begin
Many environmentalists oppose LNG exports, which they argue
will spur more pollution from increased shale gas production and
from the energy intensive process needed to cool gas into liquid
form for transport.
CCAN and other groups plan to hold a much larger protest in
July involving a march to FERC headquarters.
Supporters of U.S. LNG exports say they will boost the U.S.
economy and offer countries in Asia and Europe an alternative to
burning dirty coal.
While the Environmental Protection Agency has urged FERC to
conduct extensive analysis of the climate change impacts of the
projects and the impacts of increased natural gas production
FERC has said these issues go beyond its scope.
Charged with assessing the safety and environmental effects
of the construction and operation of LNG export projects, FERC
has repeatedly argued that there is no way to measure the
impact that a single export project would have on global climate
The protesters said a recent report from the Energy
Department on the potential life cycle greenhouse gas emissions
of U.S. LNG exports bolstered their case that FERC must do more
on the climate issue.
The study, released in May, concluded LNG shipments to
Europe and Asia would not increase emissions over a 100-year
period when compared to the use of coal for power but found in
certain scenarios LNG exports could be almost as bad as coal or
worse over a 20-year timeframe. [1.usa.gov/1rrmeYj
Methane, which is emitted during the production and
transmission of natural gas, is a much more potent greenhouse
gas than carbon dioxide, but it does not remain in the
atmosphere as long.
Tidwell said FERC and the Energy Department should focus more
on the 20-year findings, because the next two decades could be
critical to avoiding irreversible climate damage.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe, editing by Ros Krasny and Cynthia